Re: secular quotations in Paul

From: Mary L. B. Pendergraft (
Date: Mon Apr 07 1997 - 12:27:16 EDT

Jeffrey Gibson wrote:
> To all who responded to my question regarding explicit quotations of
> "pagan" sources in Paul, my thanks.
> Now, would anyone like to comment upon where allusions to secular authors
> may be found? More specifically, what is the evidence that the
> historical Paul was as familiar with classical literature and mythology
> as the Lukan Paul seems to be?
> Jeffrey Gibson

The other, perhaps unanswerable, question is whether such quotations do
argue for familiarity with the literature, or whether they had become
common currency in the way that Shakespearean phrases often are: Folks
say things like "to thine own self be true" but never read Hamlet.

On the other hand, I like to think that Paul did know Aratus' poem.
Their birthplaces in Cilicia were close to one another, and Aratus was
the local celebrity par excellence: The city dedicated a portrait
statue, and his face appeared on coins.

Mary Pendergraft
Classical Languages
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem NC 27109-7343

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